Redbarn Cat Food Review16 min read
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When shopping for cat food, you want to know you’re choosing a product you can feel good about feeding your pet. Unfortunately, some brands are more concerned about making their next dollar than about creating a product that will actually be good for your pet.
Redbarn is passionate about making products pets love and pet parents trust. They bake their products with the love and warmth of their family and continue to uphold their mission of providing healthy, wholesome, and innovative food and treats.
Read on to see what we think of the brand and to see our reviews for their top products.
How We Review Cat Food Brands
Though one cat food may look like another, the truth is cat food brands vary greatly in terms of quality. What determines the quality of a cat food recipe is the quality of the ingredients that go into it and the care the manufacturer takes with preparation and processing.
It’s our goal to help you make a smart and healthy choice for your cat, so we understand you wanting to know how we make our recommendations. It’s really quite simple.
The only cat food brands we give our whole-hearted recommendation to are the ones that provide for your cat’s nutritional needs in a healthy and wholesome way. Your cat is an obligate carnivore which means his body is evolved to process nutrients from animal products more efficiently than plants. Meat should be the foundation of your cat’s diet, pure and simple.
Though the first ingredient in any cat food we recommend is meat, we look for other healthy ingredients as well. The more protein the better, but healthy fats play an important role in your cat’s nutrition as well and fresh fruits and vegetables (in limited quantity) can provide natural sources for key nutrients.
Here are some of the things we look for in a good cat food brand:
- High-quality animal protein as the first ingredient
- Rich in healthy animal fats (ex: chicken fat or salmon oil)
- Few to no carbohydrate ingredients (especially within the top 5)
- Limited number of main ingredients plus supplements
- No low-quality fillers, grains, or by-products
In addition to making sure any cat food brand we recommend is made with high-quality ingredients, we evaluate several other factors as well. We prefer brands that offer a wide variety of recipes and those that provide plenty of information about their ingredients and products. We also consider pricing and recalls as well as the availability of the brand as a whole.
Overview of the Redbarn Brand
The story of Redbarn goes back over twenty years, starting when founders Jeff Baikie and Howie Bloxam met on a hockey rink in Canada at 12 years old. The pair established a lasting friendship at the time that eventually turned into a lifelong business partnership.
When Jeff and Howie saw the need for a wholesome and high-quality dog food on the market in the 1990s, they set out to create it themselves and founded Redbarn Pet Products. From humble beginnings, Redbarn has grown to a family of 500 members and over 200 products. They’ve always been a family-owned business and are committed to staying that way.
The first Redbarn product to be released was Redbarn Premium Rolled Food, a fresh dog food roll. Next came Redbarn Bully Sticks which became their top seller. As their success continued to mount, Redbarn purchased their first production facility in Long Beach, California in 1998. They started with a single warehouse but have since expanded to nine additional buildings within a few short years.
Redbarn released their first cat product in 2014, Redbarn Grain-Free Cat Food.
Because Redbarn has always been committed to safety and quality, their new cat products were put through the same rigorous quality and assurance standards as their dog products. Today, they employ a dedicated Quality Assurance team that runs over 800 physical, chemical, and microbiological tests each week to make sure products are safe before being distributed.
What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
At the moment, Redbarn only offers wet cat food products and freeze-dried cat treats. They comment that while there are advantages to both wet and dry food, “we foods are often more palatable due to the lower cooking temperatures.” They also note that wet food often has higher levels of animal-based protein and retains more of its nutrients and moisture than dry food.
Redbarn wet cat food comes in three different categories: filets, stew, and pate. In addition to traditional recipes, Redbarn also offers a few formulas for indoor cats and for certain health concerns like urinary support, healthy weight management, and skin and coat health.
Here is the nutritional information for some of the most popular cat food recipes:
Wet Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Kg|
|Beef Stew Recipe||8.5||4||0.75||82||879|
|Chicken Stew Recipe||8||5||0.75||82||882|
|Chicken & Tuna Filet Entrée||10||2||2||85||1,039|
|Salmon & Shrimp Filet Entrée||7||2||2||85||1,416|
|Tuna & Pumpkin Filet Entrée||10||2||2||85||932|
|Tuna & Salmon Filet Entrée||7||2||2||85||1,106|
|Tuna & Turkey Filet Entrée||10||2||2||85||1,118|
|Beef Pate for Urinary Support||9.5||6.5||0.75||78||1,180|
|Chicken Pate for Indoor Cats||11||6||1||78||1,090|
|Lamb Pate for Skin & Coat||10||9.5||1||78||1,332|
|Ocean Fish Pate for Healthy Weight||11||6.5||1||78||1,180|
|Tuna Pate Recipe||12||8||0.75||78||1,255|
|Turkey Pate Recipe||11||7||0.75||78||1,227|
Product Recall History
There are many factors to consider when evaluating the quality of a cat food brand. It’s important to check the list of ingredients and guaranteed analysis for any product you’re considering, but you should also do some research on the brand as a whole – we recommend checking the recall history.
A product recall happens when there’s an issue with a product. The FDA may issue a recall after performing testing or receiving consumer complaints, or the manufacturer can recall it voluntarily if they discover the problem themselves. A long history of recalls is often an indication of a poor-quality brand, though a lack of recalls isn’t enough to judge a brand.
Redbarn says the following of their commitment to quality and safety: “Redbarn is in a committed relationship with quality assurance. With internal and external monitoring and auditing, Redbarn has industry-leading safety protocols in place.”
Though you can’t always take pet food manufacturers at their word, it seems Redbarn is genuine in their commitment to maintaining high standards for quality. They have not had a single FDA recall in their history and have only once issued a voluntary recall – it was for one of their dog chews early in 2020. The recall was limited to a total of 24 SKU’s distributed between March 2017 and February 2020.
Products Included in This Review
|Name||Type||Protein %||Fat %||Top 5 Ingredients|
|Redbarn Naturals Chicken Stew Grain-Free Canned Cat Food||Wet||8||5||Chicken, chicken broth, vegetable broth, chicken liver, dried egg product|
|Redbarn Naturals Turkey Pate Grain-Free Canned Cat Food||Wet||12||7||Turkey, turkey liver, turkey broth, natural flavors, alfalfa meal|
|Redbarn Naturals Chicken Pate Indoor Grain-Free Canned Food||Wet||11||6||Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, garbanzo beans, natural flavor|
|Redbarn Naturals Tuna & Salmon Entrée Filets Flaked in Gravy||Wet||7||2||Tuna broth, tuna red meat, salmon, chicken, sunflower oil|
|Redbarn Naturals Ocean Fish Healthy Weight Grain-Free Canned||Wet||11||6.5||Ocean fish, fish broth, peas, natural flavors, alfalfa meal|
This formula is made with high-quality chicken as the number-1 ingredient and comes in 5.5-ounce cans. It is free from grains, carrageenan, and artificial additives but is supplemented with superfoods like flaxseeds and cranberries for a boost of nutrition.
With fresh chicken as the first ingredient followed by both chicken and vegetable broths, this is a moisture-rich recipe. It also contains chicken liver and dried egg as supplemental proteins.
Though this recipe is free from carrageenan, it does contain agar-agar which is another seaweed derivative. The jury is still out on this particular ingredient, but some cat owners consider it controversial at the least. It’s used here as a thickener.
Other than these main ingredients, this formula contains some carrots and cranberries but the remaining ingredients are primarily supplements added to ensure balanced nutrition.
This formula is similar to the previous, but the supplementary protein (turkey liver) comes before the turkey broth. You’ll also note the addition of alfalfa meal which may play a role in raising the protein content of this formula to 12%, considering alfalfa is a protein-rich plant ingredient.
After the proteins, moisture, and alfalfa meal you’ll see agar-agar followed by three superfoods – parsley, cranberries, and blueberries. Salmon oil is the primary source of added fat and dried green-lipped mussels are added for glucosamine and chondroitin.
This recipe contains synthetic supplements like the previous one and we’re happy to see the minerals are chelated. This simply means they are minerals that have been chemically bound to protein molecules which helps increase their absorption.
Formulated for indoor cats, this chicken recipe contains more protein and more fiber than the original chicken stew recipe above. It seemingly contains more fat as well, which is a little odd for an indoor cat recipe, but the total fat content is by no means excessive.
Keep in mind that different moisture levels come into play here – you have to convert the nutrients to dry matter to make a direct comparison. When you do that, this recipe contains slightly less fat, but it isn’t a significant difference.
Another difference in this recipe is the inclusion of garbanzo beans in addition to alfalfa meal. Both of these contain some plant protein, but it’s hard to say how much it contributes to the total protein content of the recipe. The estimated carbohydrate content is still very low, under 5%.
We’d also like to note that this formula contains a few more synthetic supplements than the previous two recipes, so it makes us wonder how much nutrition the main ingredients provide.
The most expensive of the recipes we’ve reviewed here, this one features tuna and salmon as the main ingredients. You’ll notice chicken in the top 5 ingredients as well, however, along with pea protein and egg powder. The dry matter protein content is about 46%, though it’s hard to say how much comes from which ingredient. It’s at least good that the animal proteins come before the pea protein.
In addition to tuna, salmon, and chicken this formula contains sunflower oil as an added source of fat. We usually prefer to see animal-based fats, but it’s possible the fresh tuna and salmon provide plenty of omega-3s and the sunflower oil is used to balance it with omega-6s.
Overall, this recipe appears to be decent recipe, though the fiber content is much higher than the others. The estimated carbohydrate content is only about 1%.
Available in 5.5-ounce and 12.5-ounce cans, this ocean fish recipe is designed to help cats maintain a healthy weight. That being said, it is actually higher in calories per kilogram than all but one of the other recipes reviewed here. This highlights the importance of checking the feeding recommendations.
This formula features ocean fish as the primary ingredient and the only source of animal protein. The recipe likely gets some plant protein from peas and alfalfa meal, though it’s hard to tell how much.
Other ingredients worth noting include cranberries and blueberries as a source of antioxidants and salmon oil as an added source of healthy animal-based fat. We also see green lipped mussels again and chelated mineral supplements.
What Do Customers Think of Redbarn Cat Food?
Because Redbarn cat food is only sold in local and independent pet stores and online, it isn’t the most well-known brand on the market. On Chewy, most products have an average 3-star rating or higher, though there are a few with lower 1-star and 2-star ratings. The product with the most customer reviews on Chewy only has a little over 100 reviews and many have fewer than 10.
There are a number of comments about a formula change that seems to have happened in mid-2019. Several customers comment that the recipe is now waterier than it used to be. Though some cats really loved the food, many of the negative reviews on other products were related to cats simply not liking the formula.
How Much Does Redbarn Cat Food Cost?
Cost is always a concern for pet parents but it’s important to walk the line between choosing a product that’s good for your cat and good for your wallet. Price isn’t always an accurate reflection of quality, so make sure the cost of a pet food is only one of the aspects you consider in making your choice.
When it comes to the price of Redbarn cat food, it’s somewhere in the middle to low end of the bracket. The recipes reviewed above average around $0.30 per ounce or less, though the filets recipe was more expensive, over $0.50 per ounce.
To give you a better idea how Redbarn stacks up against other cat food brands, here is a quick chart to show you some average prices:
|Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Food||Dry||Low||X||$0.90/pound|
|Friskies Classic Pate Mixed Grill Canned Food||Wet||Low||$0.07/ounce||$1.16/pound|
|Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice Adult Dry Cat Food||Dry||Moderate||X||$2.53/pound|
|Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Chicken Pate Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||Moderate||$0.36/ounce||X|
|Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken||Dry||High||X||$3.45/pound|
|Ziwi Peak New Zealand Venison Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||High||$1.21/ounce||X|
Where Can You Buy Redbarn Cat Food?
Redbarn doesn’t sell directly to customers, but you should be able to find their products in stores and online. You can shop for Redbarn cat food at your local or independent pet product retailer or use the store locator online to find a local retailer. Online, you can find Redbarn products at Chewy.com as well as Pawstruck.com. Redbarn doesn’t currently sell on Amazon.
Our Final Thoughts: Is Redbarn a Good Brand?
Overall, Redbarn seems to be a decent brand for the price. We appreciate their commitment to choosing a single type of food (wet food) and sticking to it rather than trying to play the field. Redbarn uses real animal protein as the first ingredient in every recipe and their carbohydrate use is very limited (this isn’t surprisingly, however, since it’s all canned food).
If you’re looking for a good cat food and your budget is somewhat limited, Redbarn is an affordable choice. We love that they don’t use any artificial additives and they offer a wide recipe selection.